Dan Barouch, MD, PhD (Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, BIDMC) was awarded the George Ledlie Prize by Harvard for developing an effective COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson – one of three granted emergency use authorization in the U.S. Last bestowed in 2017, the prize is given no more frequently than every two years to a member of the Harvard community who has, “since the last awarding of said prize, by research, discovery, or otherwise, made the most valuable contribution to science, or in any way for the benefit of mankind.”
Data from a clinical trial in South Africa suggests single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe illness and death from the Delta and Beta variants of the coronavirus. Results also suggest that people who have received one dose of the vaccine don’t need a booster shot. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD (Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, BIDMC), who has led some studies with Johnson & Johnson but was not involved in the trial, said the study was conducted as a real-world efficacy study in one of the most challenging epidemiologic settings, and is very good news for the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic.
As more data becomes available, experts comment on the efficacy of the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD (Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, BIDMC) discusses research his team led on the neutralizing antibody coverage of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against different virus variants.
A spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations in Massachusetts hospitals tracks closely with the rise in people testing positive for COVID-19 that began after the Fourth of July holiday. BILH said its COVID-19 patients increased from 19 on July 1 to 27 patients last Thursday.
Newly published details of the Provincetown, MA COVID-19 outbreak raised concern that the now-dominant delta variant may be able to spread among fully vaccinated people. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD (Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, BIDMC) said the rules have changed as we have a different epidemic now than we did in May.
Scientists may be on the cusp of defining correlates – biological benchmarks that can show that a vaccine is achieving its desired effect – of protection against symptomatic disease for the COVID-19 vaccines. Kathryn Stephenson, MD, MPH (Infectious Disease, BIDMC) comments on the process and timeline of these determinations.
In an opinion piece for the Boston Globe, Mary LaSalvia, MD (Infectious Disease, BIDMC) and Kenneth Wener, MD (Infectious Disease, LHMC) joined other Boston infectious disease experts to address the COVID-19 questions they received from patients who are hesitant to get the vaccine with the goal of informing people, promoting fact-based decision making, and helping people join the 600 million people in the world who have opted to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Hospitals across the country are setting up programs to provide better treatment for people suffering from long-term symptoms of COVID-19. Jason Maley, MD (Pulmonary Disease, BIDMC) and Joseph Zibrak, MD (Pulmonary Disease, BIDMC) spoke about BIDMC’s recently launched the Critical Illness and COVID-19 Survivorship Program that aims to integrate care among pulmonary, critical care, sleep medicine, psychiatry, cognitive neurology, neurology, geriatrics, social work, and physical and occupational therapy clinicians.
Despite efforts to reach hard-hit populations, communities of color are continuing to experience vaccination rates that are considerably less than the overall population. In this opinion piece, co-authored by Juan Fernando Lopera(Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, BILH), the authors shared that BILH prioritized vaccination appointment scheduling outreach to patients who get their care at its community health centers and who live in 11 communities that were hardest hit by COVID. These initiatives targeted Latino and Black majority communities, including Chelsea, East Boston, Everett, Roxbury, Dorchester, and Holyoke.